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Three Baltimore Shuls Receive Suspicious Packages, Two Ill After Opening Letter

Public safety officials responded to three separate calls from Baltimore-area Jewish institutions about suspicious packages on Monday.

Two employees of the Pauline Mash School For Early Childhood Education, a Jewish preschool operated by Beth El Synagogue in Pikesville, became ill after opening an envelope sent to the shul, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The nature of the substance in the envelope is unclear and tests for poisonous materials in the building were negative, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore County Fire Department said. The building was not evacuated, and 33 staff members and 78 children remained on the premises.

According to local news station WJZ, the letter in the envelope said: “If you died right now do you know for sure that you would go to Heaven? JESUS IS THE ANSWER.” The letter continuesd with more religious language about God, Jesus and the Devil.

Hazmat and police crews also responded to another report of a suspicious package at Beth Isaac Adath Israel, a synagogue three miles away. The building was evacuated, but no dangerous substances were found, the fire department tweeted.

The county government said in a statement that after the two other incidents, they responded to a call from a third synagogue, Har Sinai Congregation in Owings Mills. The congregation received a similar letter a week ago and notified police after learning about the other incidents. “The letters appear to be similar in nature and do not convey any type of threat,” the statement read, adding that the investigation is continuing.

Contact Aiden Pink at [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink

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